Multiscreen Index shows cable subs falling ‘for first time’

The latest edition of Informitv’s quarterly Multiscreen Index (MI) suggests business at traditional pay TV players is slowing down.

For the second quarter of 2018, MI reported, “the second smallest rise so far in television subscribers among the 100 leading services in the index.

“Subscriber numbers rose by 0.6% in the second quarter of 2018 (which equates to 2.69 million), compared to 0.4% the previous quarter. For the first time we saw a small fall in the number of subscribers to cable services.”

Drilling deeper into the data, MI says that 51 of the 100 services in the Index reported net subscriber gains, though there were marked regional differences.

In the Americas the report noted an increase of just 0.18 million subscribers. The top 10 service providers in the US lost over 358,000 television subscribers between them.

In Asia Pacific, by contrast, there was a reported increase of 1.81 million, with Airtel Digital TV in India making the greatest gains, adding 478,000. Dish TV added 300,000, extending its lead in the region and it is now the leading service by subscribers in the Index, with a total of 23.30 million.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) there was a net gain of 0.69 million subscribers, led by the addition of almost 800,000 for Canal+ International. Rostelecom also added around 97,000 telco television customers in Russia, said MI.

Looking at the data by group, AT&T had the most subscribers, with a total of 39.10 million. Sky was the second largest, with 23.01 million customers across Europe, an increase of 107,000.

“BT and TalkTalk both drop out of the Index. Having stalled at around 3 million TV subscribers between them, they no longer report numbers.”

MI editor William Cooper summarised Q2 as follows: “While satellite and telco gained subscribers, there was a 0.36 million loss among cable services, the first seen in the Multiscreen Index. Online services, represented by Sling TV and DirecTV Now, with just over 4 million subscribers between them, gained 0.37 million.”

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